Friday, July 02, 2004

I was eagerly sharing my top 100 of the '70s with my friend Scott the other day, when he made a most notable point. Scrolling over my list, Scott - who's a decade my senior - pointed out, that my '70s were "secondhand."

"How do you mean?"

"Your list is your impression of the '70s. When Aja came out, you were what, seven?"

"Six," I sheepishly corrected him.

"Exactly. You were able to, in essence, pick-and-choose the music of the '70s which fits you, who you are."

I protested that I got into Aja in my late teens, but to no avail. And Scott's absolutely right. It's because of my, er, musical youth that I love "Public Image," for example, a record that Scott, to his knowledge, has never heard. In 1978, whilst Lydon was, frankly, re-becoming John Lydon following the Pistols' implosion, Scott was listening to Linda Ronstadt's Living in the U.S.A. en route to seeing her perform at the L.A. Forum. I, meanwhile, was being force-fed my Mom's Carpenters records. But in remixing my musical - what, formation? - I was a hip 20-something (early 20-something, mind), digging PiL and Chic in equal measure. Only, having been all of 7 at the time, I now make it thus.

For pete's sake, I only first heard my #20 record of the '70s, Timmy Thomas' magnificent demo "Why Can't We Live Together," in the last year. History's written and reported - but it's also created, in a fashion. Particularly our own individual histories, be they cultural or otherwise.

My own musical memories of the '70s are sketchy at best; when the decade ended, I'd just turned 9. There were the Carpenters, to be sure. My parents went to a Statler Brothers concert once (that was mostly Dad's doing, I think). And I distinctly recall a certain enrapturement (is that a word, I wonder?) with the sound of Alicia Bridges' "I Love the Nightlife," coming from the midway of the 1978 Indiana State Fair; my Mom mocked the way in which Bridges sang the word "action" (which, as we all know, was "act-SHAWN"). But apart from those few scattered memories, and some other records of Mom's (Barry Manilow Live comes to mind), that's it until 1981, when I discovered American Top 40. Last night a DJ saved my life, indeed...

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